Fresh off entertaining 30 dogs in his office, John Calipari hopped on the SEC Summer Teleconference to talk about his new squad. Given all of his recent comments, we know he’s excited about the group, which just started practice yesterday, but today, he got a little more specific about how he wants them to play. Cal said he wants six or seven guys averaging in double figures scoring, the most he’s had from any team since he came to Kentucky (the 2012 title team had five, plus Darius Miller averaging 9.9 points per game).
“I’d like to have six or seven guys in double figures scoring. There’s no one that’s going to average 25 points a game. You may get 25 in a game, but we don’t play through two guys. Everybody here is treated the same way. The other thing I said was, this isn’t communism. If you don’t deserve to play, you won’t play. If you do deserve to play, I’ll figure it out.”
Calipari said the thing he’s trying to impress on his team the most right now is the culture of Kentucky Basketball, both in terms of what players must do to succeed in the program and what the program means to the fans; the former is all about sacrifice.
“There’s a couple things that happen when you come here. First of all, the culture is about really spending time in this and really being trained and understanding that there’s competition. You’re not just doing this yourself, you’re going against other guys that are as good as you, maybe better.”
As for the latter, the team got a good taste of the Big Blue Nation on their train tour across the Bluegrass on Sunday, which he hopes will prepare them for the expectations to come.
“We just took a train ride and the reason I did it initially was because I wanted time with them and we did a lot of team building and part of that was talking about the expectations that are always on this program,” Cal said. “The biggest thing I had to talk to them about was, here is what the culture of Kentucky is but it won’t carry you; you have to carry the culture. You have to take it to the next level. If you don’t move this culture, this culture means nothing. This is what we’ve built the program on and around.”